Pulp #634

Subscribe to Forte Magazine

Pulp #634

Well hey there, gang! Hope you’re all having a swell day. Uni’s back for me, and of course, so are the long, long commutes. Ah, the joys of higher education! I finally got around to seeing Deadpool, as well – it took me a fair while, but I’m definitely glad I got a chance to see it before it left cinemas. I thought it was a damn good adaptation; it’s easily the closest adaptation of a comic that I’ve seen so far, and despite feeling like it was slightly over-hyped (more on that in a second, I swear it’s not a bad thing!) I thought it was hilarious; the Hydra Bob Easter egg was a masterpiece, and pretty much every joke hit the mark. My only gripe was that I was left wanting more; everyone I’d spoken to before going into the theatre was really hyped about it, and made it out to be the best thing since sliced bread. On reflection, though, I think this was simply a case of non-comic fans being introduced to a hilarious, lesser-known character and loving every second of it.

Speaking of lesser-known, hilarious characters, it’s about time I talked about this week’s comic: Howard the Duck, written by Chip Zdarsky (Sex Criminals) and drawn by Joe Quinones (FF). Courtesy of the Secret Wars crossover junk, the initial series only ran for five issues before starting over (albeit with the same creative team, something of a rarity these days). Howard the Duck also has the dubious honour of being the first Marvel movie ever made – released in 1986, it was a critical and financial flop for good ol’ George Lucas (yes, he of Star Wars fame). Thankfully, Zdarsky and Quinones aren’t complete morons, so the collection of their initial run, What the Duck, is hilarious and very entertaining.

While the book lacks an overarching, plot, What the Duck follows the Marvel universe’s least successful detective as he stumbles from one case to the next. One minute he’s being kidnapped by the Collector’s minions and made part of his collection beside Rocket Raccoon (of the Guardians of the Galaxy), and the next he’s being hired to recover a particular gem for a less than reputable client and being attacked by hypnotised senior citizens. With his new sidekick/sort of employee/only friend Tara in tow, Howard just wants to get the job done and, most importantly, get paid. A duck’s gotta eat!

While I was initially sceptical about picking the book up – Howard the Duck doesn’t exactly have a reputation for quality – I have to say that Chip Zdarsky is the best possible choice for a writer. Howard himself may be gruff and irreverent, but the world that Zdarsky has dropped him in is utterly hilarious.

Most of the humour comes from either background gags or slight tweaks to the character of established heroes. For example, Howard has multiple encounters with Spider-man, and more often than not the web-slinger is reduced to tears either by his own failings or his misunderstanding of current events. Hell, even Doctor Strange subtly ditches Wong for an inter-dimensional poker game! The book is packed with gags, and it’s much like the initial Marvel NOW run of Deadpool – the one where he re-kills dead American presidents – in its tone, albeit slightly updated to fit the new status quo of the MU. Honestly, it’s one of the most enjoyable books Marvel has put out in recent memory; it shares its goofy sense of humour with Zdarsky’s other work, and when it’s paired with Quinones’ great character design, it makes for one hell of a book.

Written by Alastair McGibbon